The type of diet to avoid is the ‘crash diet’ in which you lose a great deal of weight in a short period of time. This may sound ideal but it is in fact, counterproductive as you end up losing a higher proportion of muscle mass than body fat, and even worse, it slows down your metabolism.
Your body reacts to this reduced intake by switching into ‘energy conservation’ mode and so lowers your metabolic rate accordingly. This means that you now need fewer calories than before to maintain your new weight. And any calories not burned off will be stored as body fat.
Another problem is that your body has adjusted to fewer calories which mean that it is very easy to regain weight once you come off this diet. You then reduce your calorie intake even further to try and lose that weight and so on. This is known as ‘yo yo dieting’.
If this pattern of dieting is followed for a long time it can lead to a whole range of health problems which include:
- Increased risk of developing an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Raised LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels
- Dizziness and fainting
- Loss of muscle mass and lean tissue
- Strain on internal organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys
- Depression and anxiety
If we rule out the ‘crash diet’ then what other types of diets are there?
To start with, diets range from calorie controlled in which you can eat a wide range of foods to those which are strict about what you can and cannot eat. Plus there is the constant situation in which the latest ‘fad diet’ is promoted as THE diet to follow, becomes very popular and then disappears without a trace.